This year’s elections for the Wilson College Government Association (WCGA) reveal some startling trends among the student body.
Self-nomination forms for this year’s election were to be completed no later than Fri, Feb. 28. However, at that time many of the positions had not been filled by the self-nominations, leaving several key positions for the club with no one willing to take them.
In response, the deadline for nominations was extended one week and several students put in self-nominations during that period. Even with this extension, many nominees ran unopposed for their positions, and two important roles—the club secretary and the head of constitutions and by-laws—remain unfilled for next year.
The WCGA is partially responsible for the rules that govern students’ lives during their time at the college. One of the organization’s most important roles is to act as the connection between the student body and the faculty and staff.
Current WCGA President Caileigh Oliver was troubled by this election. “I am disappointed at the low participation,” said Oliver. “The WCGA has such an impact on students.”
Other clubs around campus are also seeing a lull in attendance and participation. Chief justice of the WCGA Sonja Hess sees problems not only in filling the seats of the WCGA, but with the trends of other groups on campus as well. “Clubs are getting to the point where they’re just hanging on,” said Hess.
For this semester’s WCGA elections, there were 109 voters. The election was open to the entirety of the student body, including commuter students, adult degree students and international students. Wilson’s total student enrollment numbers are in the 700s, meaning that a vast majority of the student body did not vote in this year’s election.
The WCGA announces the elections each year through a host of ways including emails, a general assembly, posters and an information table outside the dining hall during the week of nominations.
Next year’s WCGA President Ghada Tafesh ’16 is hoping to get more of the student body involved during her presidency. As a current sophomore Tafesh is a campus tour guide, a tutor for Math and English, a member of the Math Club and Muhibbah Club and a member of the Wilson Billboard, in addition to her schoolwork as a double major in English and Biology.
“I want to increase outreach and engagement among the faculty, students, and staff, and I want to make students aware of the resources and information available to them, said Tafesh.” I want to keep current issues and events in the conversation—to listen to the entire campus’s concerns.”
As current WCGA president, Oliver is hopeful for the future of the group, as well as the future of student involvement: “I am really excited for the upcoming years. I hope they continue what we started—being involved and knowing they can make a difference,” she said.
With increased enrollment on the horizon, the incoming classes’ involvement in campus life and events like Sarah Wilson Week hinge upon current students. Current willingness to be a part of the college’s social activities and clubs will keep clubs and organizations like the WCGA alive. Organizers of such events and members of the various clubs realize the importance of student involvement for a well- rounded Wilson experience.
According to Oliver, the future looks bright, even with this year’s lapse in involvement. “Things are changing for the better soon,” she assured.
For more information on WCGA activities contact members at firstname.lastname@example.org.